Billy Teague’s Review of the Festival

Hello, my name is Billy. For many years I have lived ‘on-the-road’. Between Winter 2019 and Spring 2022 I was residing on unauthorised encampments in or close to Hastings and St Leonard’s. Towards the end of last year my partner, Jules, and my friend and neighbour, Arran, told me that

News of our Festival Mentoring Scheme

Preparations for #ATownExploresABook23 are under way with ten early career artists aged 16-28 on the festival mentoring scheme working alongside the core team. They are working on curation, development of the partner projects and supporting the festival fundraising committee which makes the festival accessible to children in the Hastings and

2023 Book Choice

We are delighted to announce the book choice for ATownExploresABook23 is the Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands. It is an autobiography and travel writing book by 19th century adventurer, Mary Seacole, a woman of the world. Image: A Town Explores A Book 2023 Ambassadors: Melisande and SusanCredit:

Creative Writing Competition Announcement

Thanks to over 100 children who entered the festival creative writing competition hosted by Hastings Museum and Art Gallery. Enjoy (below) the eight short listed pieces of writing from the KS2 (7-11 yrs of age) category and the KS3 short list. The classes of the winners from each category will

1–18 April: disPLACED exhibition

Friday 1 April 5–7pm: Private View of disPLACED Southwater Area Community Centre,1 and 2 Stainsby Street TN37 6LA,Entrance on the railway side of the building, free. Curator Nick Hill has steered a focus on the experience of displacement in this community art exhibition marking the Southwater Area Community Centre’s twentieth

Fri 1 – Mon 18 April – Art across the town

This year’s outdoor art trail includes three installations in Gensing Gardens and work along the Station Path and in Warrior Square Gardens. All work is produced by artists collaborating with school children. Apples by Emma Harding and Martin Brockman “When the apples were ripe she would stand up on his

Sat 2–Mon 18 April, 12–5pm: Searching for Kushti: 50 years of The Diddakoi

A photographic exhibition by New Traveller, Jules Earl and Hungarian Roma, Béla Váradi, curated by Alexander Brattell. The exhibition is open from Thursday through to Sunday, and Bank Holiday Monday (18 April). At Electro Studios Project Space, 5 Seaside Road, St Leonards-on-Sea TN38 0AL

Fri 8 Apr–Sun 8 May: “What can we do – fly?”

Friday–Sunday 11–5pm or by private appointment: An installation by ARRAN responding to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which is set to become law in England in April 2022. Currently a Hastings area based artist who identifies as a new traveller, Arran’s family and community have become increasingly

Thu 14–Mon 18 April: Earthed

An experiential theatre performance: a promenade theatre performance exploring two women’s magical childhood hideouts.Running over the final Easter weekend, Thursday 14–Monday 18 April, performers Yasmin Aishah and Hannah Collisson explore their multiple identities via the introspection that pervaded their childhoods.The artists create personal spaces in the garden in which to

Sunday 17 April, noon: Creative writing competition winners announcement

Young adult author Patrice Lawrence cites The Diddakoi as the book that, as a child of colour growing up in rural Sussex, articulated her experience of feeling different. The festival creative writing competition for 7–14 year olds is themed around kindness. Patrice and fellow young adult writer, Catherine Johnson are

Sat 16 April, 10am–4pm: Kings Road Pedlars Party

Kings Road Traders invite you to celebrate The Diddakoi with a Street Party! – Fantabulous, fantastical FREE family fun!

Sat 2–Sat 16 April: Family workshops and events

The festival includes 22 family-friendly workshops and events – nearly all of which are free. Choose from making musical instruments, clay workshops and sound workshops. Booking links in this post.

The Diddakoi Zine

The festival mentee team include artists of Romany and mixed race heritage. Their zine, created by Esme Fisher and supported through Artist Digital fringe funding that Esme was awarded in the 2021 AltPitch Arts and Technology Online Festival. It offers a variety of entry points into the festival which takes

Schools Resources

Newly commissioned illustrations accompany the schools workshop and community engagement running throughout March, creating outdoor art for the festival delivery period, 1-18 April 2022.

Thu 7 April, 6–8.30pm: “What can we do? – fly?” Private View

The launch event for the installation by ARRAN responding to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which is set to become law in England in April 2022 Stella Dore Gallery64 Norman RoadSt Leonards on SeaTN38 0EJ01424 718460

Fri 8 April, 5–9pm: International Romani Day

A free gallery event at Electro Studios Project Space in solidarity with International Romani Day 5–6pm: Gary Brazil and singer, Pashey Smith travel from The South East Romany Museum in Marden, Kent with the museum’s London cart to join the ATownExploresABook festival and mark International Romani Day outside Electro Studios

Sat 2 April, 5–7pm: Let’s talk about the book

5–7pm: Southwater Area Community Centre – Free Event Rumer Godden’s The Diddakoi is 50 years old. This event gives us a chance to talk about the book’s themes of marginalised and mixed race experience, relationships with nature, friendship, Romany and nomadic heritage, model making traditions and being true to self.

Sat 2 & Sun 3 April, 3pm: Dan Allum reads from The Diddakoi at Teddy Tinkers

Free weekend readings from The Diddakoi Teddy Tinker’s, 134 London Rd TN37 6LT Dan Allum has abridged The Diddakoi for Radio 4 Extra. He is a Romany Gypsy who grew up in a travelling family. After he attended university, he became an award-winning writer working with the BBC, ITV, the

Sat 2 April, 10am–4pm: Kings Road Market & Porcelain Horse workshop at Pelhams

Pick up a copy of the festival programme at our stall in Kings Road Market – and try your hand at making a porcelain horse at one of Liz Emtage’s subsidised workshops in Pelham’s, 22 Kings Road.The workshops cost £5 and run for an hour, starting at: 11am, 12pm, 1pm,

Fri 1 April, 4–5pm: Festival launch in Gensing Gardens

Join us for the art installations generated by an extensive schools’ festival workshop programme and the unveiling of Jake Bower’s new work – a sculpture of Rumer Godden’s protagonist Kizzy. This is the first public sculpture of a mixed race child of Romany heritage in England. For more information about


The festival schools anti-bullying literacy project, Choose2bKind, is being hosted at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery and features in the museum’s teacher continuing professional development programme. Booking is now open.

Opening Night Event Tickets on Sale

Join us for the opening night of #ATownExploresABook22. Bavard Bar hosts three #GypsyRomanyTraveller speakers – Dan Allum, Jake Bowers and Jess Bayley. Opening St Leonards on Sea’s #ATownExploresABook22 festival, Tim Bavard of the much-loved south coast of England talk platform, ‘The Bavard Bar’, hosts three speakers from Gyspy, Romany and

Latest Festival Updates

Judges Confirmed for Writing Competition The festival team is excited to announce that young adult authors Catherine Johnson and Patrice Lawrence are confirmed as judges for the 2022 festival creative writing competition for children. More information on this important part of our festival is coming soon. What Does The Name

The Wayfarers Project

A video about the Wayfarers Project led by Emma Harding.

Your Guide to 18 Days of Nonsense

Exploring a book together is a joy. Our outdoor art and shop window displays run for the duration of the festival. Here’s our virtual diary. Previously April 1 Thursday: All day on our social media channels. Nonsense Poetry to launch the festival. Our Nonsense Streets project just has to begin

Hastings Thrives Projects

In our fifth year we have welcomed new festival partner, Hastings Thrives. Their two song writing projects, Nonsense Gardens and Sea of Dreams, have nurtured local young song writers, facilitated by Jenny Lozano and delivered by Anna Page. Come and cheer on our local young people: Bellza Moore, Clara Patrao

Romany culture links

All 6 episodes of the Diddakoi BBC drama, Thirsty Bear Forge, The Last Nomads, Roads from the Past…

Nonsense Poetry Writing Competition

For all aspiring poets aged 7 – 14. Try your hand at writing a nonsense rhyme inspired by the poems of Edward Lear. Entry deadline: March 15th 2021. How to enter:Submit a photo of your poems or to the Read Your Way FaceBook page. Edward Lear’s anthologies of nonsense

Create a song with local song-writing teacher Anna Page

From Tuesday, January 19, Free | Hastings Thrives

Hastings Thrives is offering an online chance to let your song-writing imagination go wild.

Hastings Thrives is offering some lucky Hastings young people, aged 11-16, the opportunity to let their imaginations run riot and create a song with local song-writing teacher Anna Page.

Ed Boxall interview

Erin Brookes-Doolan interviewed Hastings’ artist, storyteller and musician Ed Boxhall for Hastings Online Times. Erin discoivered Ed’s linocut prints during a visit to the Conquest Hospital. She was inspired by them and has since sought a career in illustration. Ed is taking part in this year’s Edward Lear festival so

Lear Was Here

Edward Lear is world-famous for his nonsense poems, his limericks, his paintings and, during his lifetime, he was one of Britain’s best-known travel writers. Less well known is his long and fruitful association with Hastings and St Leonards on Sea. He came here again and again between 1833 and 1864

© ExploreTheArch Ltd registered company 10963140